Pix4D turns your 2D aerial photographs into 3D maps on the fly (video)

Assuming you own a Sensefly Swinglet CAM or some other high-res camera-equipped UAV, you could be just minutes away from turning your plain old 2D aerial photos into comprehensive 3D maps. Pix4D, a new software program coming out of EPFL -- the same institute that brought us this race of altruistic robots -- takes images shot using an aerial drone to render 3D maps in the cloud in just 30 minutes. Users upload images taken with their flying machines, at which point Pix4D kicks into action, defining high contrast points in the phots and pasting them together based on those points. It then renders a 3D model, overlays the graphics, and spits out a Google Earth-style map. So what's with this 4D business? Well, its developers claim that users can easily see the progression of any model by deploying their Sensefly drone whenever they see fit, throwing the added layer of time into the mix. You can see the fruits of Pix4D's labor in the video after the break.